Register with us today

and in less than 60 seconds continue your access to:Latest news headlinesAnalytical topics and featuresCommodities videos, podcast & blogsSample market prices & dataSpecial reportsSubscriber notes & daily commodity email alerts

Already have an account?

Log in to register

Forgot Password

Please Note: Platts Market Center subscribers can only reset passwords via the Platts Market Center

Enter your Email ID below and we will send you an email with your password.


  • Email Address* Please enter email address.

If you are a premium subscriber, we are unable to send you your password for security reasons. Please contact the Client Services team.

If you are a Platts Market Center subscriber, to reset your password go to the Platts Market Center to reset your password.

In this list
Oil

Total North Sea oil workers strike upends industry harmony

Electric Power | Nuclear | Natural Gas | Oil | Crude Oil | Metals | Steel

Market Movers Europe, Oct 14-18: Oil markets focus on Putin's Saudi Arabia visit; Brexit looms over carbon market

Oil

Platts Market Data – Oil

NGL | Oil | Crude Oil | LPG | Oil Risk | Petrochemicals

Platts University New York

Oil | Crude Oil

ADNOC will look for partners in Ruwais refinery project: executive

Total North Sea oil workers strike upends industry harmony

Highlights

Regulatory statement confirms halt to gas flows

First labor disruption since price downturn

Further strikes planned for Total, Equinor facilities

London/Brussels — Oil workers shut down production at Total's North Sea platforms Monday in a return of labor disruption following a lull during the oil price downturn.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

The Unite trade union confirmed industrial action had begun on the Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin platforms at 0500 GMT for a 24-hour period, with a series of 24-hour and 12-hour stoppages planned in coming weeks, along with a ban on overtime.

"Production has been stopped and the wells shut," the union said in emailed comments. "No further talks are planned at present."

Impact of North Sea strike

Unite regional officer John Boland called on Total to "come back to us with an improved offer to get our members back to work and the wells up and running again."

The shutdown could be expected to reduce oil flows through the Forties pipeline system by nearly 70,000 b/d from recent levels, together with a small impact on Brent pipeline flows, based on production data from the Oil & Gas Authority.

Oil flows from the most prolific fields, Elgin and the conjoined Franklin field, totaled around 65,000 b/d in the early part of this year according to the OGA.

Forties and Brent crude are both constituents in forming the Platts Dated Brent benchmark.

The Total fields are primarily gas fields, but produce sizable volumes of light hydrocarbon liquids.

In a regulatory statement, Total said the strike would cut gas flows by up to 13 million cu m on Monday, with flows from the Elgin-Franklin complex through the Bacton SEAL pipeline system to resume on Tuesday evening.

The company said it remained committed to consultation and "open dialogue" with the workforce, adding: "What is at stake here is to ensure the long term sustainability of our business in the North Sea, to enhance overall safety and remain the most efficient in our operations."

Elgin-Franklin can flow at 10 million cu m/d and Alwyn at 3 million cu m/d, according to Total's data.

NORTH SEA CONSENSUS AT RISK

The disruption follows optimistic statements by top executives from European oil majors about the outlook for the North Sea, although a withdrawal by North American majors continues, with Chevron planning to sell its legacy assets. UK oil output has stabilized in the last few years, having fallen by two-thirds since the turn of the millennium.

Both Norway and the UK have seen an uptick in industrial action, with a strike by Norway's second largest offshore union resolved last week.

The strike by Unite centers on offshore shift patterns requiring workers to spend three consecutive weeks offshore, as well as other conditions.

Unions have argued workers need to be compensated after a period of forbearance during the industry downturn.

Separately, contractors with Aker engineering company have voted to take industrial action at Equinor's (formerly Statoil) Mariner heavy oil project starting in early-August, Unite said. Mariner is due to start production for the first time toward the end of the year.

Unite said further 24-hour strikes would take place at the Total platforms on August 6 and August 20, and 12-hour strikes on July 30 and August 13, along with the overtime ban.

A separate strike by Total's workers at the Shetland Gas Plant, which handles flows from the West of Shetland area, was postponed by a week to allow time for talks.

--Nick Coleman, nick.coleman@spglobal.com


--Siobhan Hall, siobhan.hall@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com